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Samsung LE40B650 Test Verdict
Not just a facelift, the Samsung LE40B650 improves upon the A656 series with its online content access (albeit limited), versatile media playback, customisable 100Hz motion, impressive SD upscaling, and [Game Mode] tweakability.
- Deepest blacks among non-LED-powered LCDs to date
- Impressive standard-def video processing
- "Custom" [100Hz Motion Plus] setting allows for blur reduction independent from dejudder processing
- Extensive networking and playback versatility (Internet@TV, Media Play, DLNA, etc.)
- Sluggish loading/navigation of Internet@TV
- Input lag may affect sensitive gamers
It would be easy to mistake the Samsung LE40B650 as just simply an aesthetic update to the A656 series, but it's so much more than that. There are at least 3 distinct areas of improvement:
- Using the "Custom" setting, you can activate [100Hz Motion Plus] for film-based content without causing films to look like amateur videos;
- You can now adjust picture settings in [Game Mode]; and
- You can play MKV (and other) video files via [Media Play], or access selected online content using the LCD's "Internet@TV" function.
Even though "Internet@TV" loads and navigates a bit too slowly for regular use, in the grand scheme of things this is just a small first-generation hiccup which should not detract from Samsung's admirable attempt to take their TVs to the next level by adding PC-like functions. The Samsung LE40B650 even powers up and shuts off with a Windows-esque chime, though fortunately this can be disabled.
Sure, some other HDTVs are slimmer, and LED-backlit LCDs are blacker, but they probably come with higher price tags too – not such a good thing in the current economic climate. When excellent blacks, impressive SD handling, practical 100Hz motion, generous connectivity, and versatile PC-like functions are squeezed into a package costing less than £1000, it's hard not to regard the Samsung LE40B650 LCD HDTV as a terrific value-for-money buy.
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